Since my post the other day and my continued forays into the social world (sans alcohol), I've been doing a bit of thinking (what's new??)
I've spoken many times about my relationship with alcohol on this blog. And I've always been very quick to point out that I wasn't an alcoholic per se. But last night I thought maybe I should tighten up on my understanding of the definition "Alcoholic".
First off, there are very conflicting definitions of alcoholism. Which confirms my suspicion that I shouldn't dismiss the label altogether in my case. The alcoholism article in Wikipedia is huge, and reflects all these conflicting viewpoints. Some of them paint me into the alcoholic picture 100%. Like the following quick test:
Two "yes" responses indicate that the respondent should be investigated further. The questionnaire asks the following questions:
- Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
- Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
- Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
But here's another "definition":
Misuse, problem use, and heavy use do not have standard definitions, but suggest consumption of alcohol beyond the point where it causes physical, social, or moral harm to the drinker.
This definition in my case is more problematic. OK, so I suppose the terrible hangovers and accompanying depression could count as physical harm. And I carried on putting myself through this physical discomfort time and time again.
BUT: social harm??? NO WAYS - if anything STOPPING alcohol has done my life social harm. In fact, looking back at my life I can honestly say that for me, alcohol could be seen as a "great enabler".
Let me explain. If one word was used to capture BPG's total disposition in life it is this: SHY. Not BiPolar, not depressed, not genius :), but plain ol' shy. A week or 2 ago I blogged that my defining characteristic was RECLUSE, but in fact, SHY lies behind even this. Readers of this blog may be surprised to hear I'm shy. But that is to be expected (as you will see in my forthcoming polemic) because the internet, like alcohol, is a great enabler for shy people.
Tis true. Had I not partaken in the merry mug-fulls, I woulda led a wayyy more isolated life. Probly ended up a goddam timid and obscure professor in an obscure lil' office in an obscure lil' university, on an obscure little planet*. But with the chutzpa (dutch courage?) the bottle gave me, I went to places I would never have been, done things I would never have done, made friends I would neva have made. Sheesh, most of my girlfriends over the years were met in bars! (cliche I know, but considering I even met Mrs M in a bar, the boy-meets-girl-at-bar story can have happy endings).
So, what I am saying is that the "persistent use of alcohol despite negative consequences. " definition leaves it wide open as to whether I was an alcoholic or not.
At this point whether or not I was an alcoholic is irrelevant - my social life is going fine (better?) without it. But I just couldn't pass up such a wonderful opportunity to chew the cud and partake in a little mental masturbation.
*NOTE TO SELF: Huh? Is my present life any better????